Seeing through New Eyes: Changing the Lives of Children with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Other Developmental Disabilities through Vision Therapy

Seeing through New Eyes: Changing the Lives of Children with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Other Developmental Disabilities through Vision Therapy

Seeing through New Eyes: Changing the Lives of Children with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Other Developmental Disabilities through Vision Therapy

Seeing through New Eyes: Changing the Lives of Children with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Other Developmental Disabilities through Vision Therapy

Synopsis

Seeing Through New Eyes offers an accessible introduction to the treatment of visual dysfunction, a significant but neglected problem associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and other developmental disabilities.

Excerpt

Doctors treating autism and other developmental disabilities often give parents a bleak picture of their children’s future. These disorders, they typically say, are untreatable except with psychotropic drugs that mask behavioral symptoms without correcting core problems.

Fortunately, these doctors are wrong. In reality, mounting evidence clearly shows that autism and related developmental disabilities are very much treatable. A wide range of therapies—among them intensive one-on-one educational intervention, special diets, nutritional therapies, and sensory integration therapy—are dramatically changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of children once considered “hopeless.”

How does vision fit into this picture? The visual system is our dominant sense—more information is obtained by the visual sensory system than by any other sensory system. As Dr. Kaplan explains in this book, a remarkably high percentage of children with autism and other developmental and cognitive problems suffer from vision problems that severely impair their attention, their ability to understand their world, and their ability to respond to the people around them. Dr. Kaplan and his colleagues (including myself) have published research demonstrating that visual training frequently can successfully address these vision problems, and in the process allow children to open up to a world once closed to them. Vision therapy works synergistically with other interventions, enabling children to respond much more positively to educational interventions and other sensory integration therapies.

I first met Dr. Kaplan in the mid-1990s, at a time when his autistic patient load was increasing exponentially due to “word of mouth” in the autism community. After hearing many positive reports from parents who . . .

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